RENFREWSHIRE COUNCIL INSTALLS IOT SENSORS IN THOUSANDS OF HOMES

Renfrewshire Council is set to install Internet of Things (IoT) technology in its social housing stock – a project that aims to improve the lives of tenants while cutting property management and repair costs.

Scottish tech innovator iOpt has secured a tender worth up to £1m to install real-time monitors which will measure temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide levels in properties, providing early alerts on issues such as problems with ventilation and potential dampness.

Supported by the Scottish Government, the partnership is thought to be the first of its kind in Europe.

“The technology we have developed is cost-effective, will deliver savings for local authorities at a time of financial uncertainty and help some of the most vulnerable tenants maintain a warm, healthy environment in their own home,” said Dane Ralston, managing director of iOpt.

“More than ever, the world is changing at great pace, and we see remote asset monitoring of this kind as a key addition to any energy efficient home. To date, our studies have shown savings of approximately £190 per year per property.”

He continued: “We believe the contract with Renfrewshire Council has made IoT history and shows that Scotland is a world leader in the field.”

The two-year project will begin when lockdown restrictions are eased. It will see sensors fitted into selected empty properties being prepared for new tenants, who will also be supported with energy efficiency advice and guidance.

The sensors are small, easy to install and feedback information in real time to a state-of-the-art IT and data management system.

This enables the council to spot potential health problems and take preventative action to protect and improve homes. High humidity and low temperatures could suggest a tenant may not be heating their home efficiently, while high carbon dioxide could point to issues with ventilation.

“During these unprecedented times it is hugely encouraging to see Scotland continue its proud tradition of world-leading innovation,” added Ivan McKee, minister for trade, investment and innovation, the Scottish Government.

iOpt’s lead investor is Mactaggart & Mickel Investments, the investment arm of one of Scotland’s major house builders. Corporate investors include Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, plus a US IoT technology leader.

iOpt plans to embark on another round of funding to accelerate growth plans, aiming for investors in the property, data and tech sectors which can add value and expertise.